One of the fans on one of my computers is starting to fail. I know this because it makes a terrible buzzing noise from time to time. I actually have a fan to replace it with, but with my laziness being the stuff of legends, I instead opt to smack the front of my case when it acts up. A rather effective solution, I might add.

Now mind you, I only have to do this about once or twice a week. The fan would have probably gotten chucked out the window months ago had it crossed my annoyance threshold. My propensity for laziness and my tolerance of annoyance sit on opposite ends of the same balance. I consistently find myself posing the question: Is this annoying enough to warrant spending the time and effort doing something about it? But I digress.

Yesterday (Halloween, for those of you still chronologically disoriented from the time change), the fan started buzzing so loudly I heard it from the other end of the house. So of course, I went and smacked the case. No effect. So I smacked it again. It continued to buzz defiantly.

So I did what anyone would do.

“Turn off the computer and replace the fan, Kody?”

Heh. Nope.

I punched the machine on the side.

The buzzing ceased actually, if only for a second. Of course this did nothing but encourage me to punch my machine again. I don’t often exact physical abuse on computer hardware, but this was turning out to be quite an effective stress reliever.


The monitor goes dark.

Oh. Crap.Computer - Explosion

As I sat in shock, not knowing what to do next, the machine started back up again on its own. I cheered from within when I saw the Windows XP logo, only to panic again when I heard that same terrible BZZZZZZZZT and saw the life swept from the monitor once more.

At this point, I began to process my surroundings. Yes, the computer was apparently fine – somehow. However, something very bad was happening with the electricity. To spare my old friend any more pain, I flipped the switch on the back of the power supply. BZZZZZZZZT. This was sounding serious.

I went outside and quickly inspected the pole that carries the power line that feeds our house. No smoke, no fire, nothing. So I went back inside to inspect our breaker box. While I was inside, a neighbor pulls in the driveway, jumps out, and starts yelling for my uncle who lives beside us.

As it turns out, a transformer down the road had blown up after a tree branch fell across a power line. The power line burnt itself in two and set a fire after hitting the ground. The terrible electrical noises I was hearing was the power line grounding itself.

The fire spread quite quickly due to all the dry, dead brush before the first firefighters arrived – not to mention that the wind was up as well. I had to leave for work so I didn’t get to see the drama play out, but when I got home the fire was out, power had been restored, and my computer was doing okay.

I’m really not sure what lesson to get out of all this. Perhaps, “Don’t beat your equipment so hard you blow a transformer?” I don’t know. At any rate I consider myself lucky on several levels. It could have turned out to be a particularly scary Halloween.

At least it made for a crazy story to tell.

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